Tag Archives: Allianz

Aviation Risk Trends Post-COVID

The sudden halt imposed on the aviation industry by the COVID-19 crisis hit the sector hard. In April 2020, two-thirds of the global commercial aviation fleet sat idle on the tarmac, while passenger traffic was down 90% year-on-year. Today, the aviation industry is slowly rebounding, led by domestic travel. As more aircraft return to the skies, a new report from aviation insurer Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) highlights some of the challenges airlines and airports face as they restart operations.

1. “Rusty” pilots and the return of sightseeing flights

Earlier this year, dozens of pilots reported making mistakes, such as taking multiple attempts to land, to NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System, with many citing rustiness as a factor on returning to the skies. Airlines (and other operators) are well aware of the potential for pilot “rustiness” and continue to take steps to manage and mitigate these risks. 

Major airlines have developed different training programs for pilots re-entering service, depending on the length of absence. At a time of such unprecedented activity, it is comforting to know that the risk management processes that made airline travel safer than any form of travel prior to the pandemic will continue to drive an unparalleled travel safety environment in the post COVID-19 world. 

However, the return of sightseeing flights in tourism destinations could lead to an uptick in risk for smaller leisure aircraft, including helicopters, particularly if there is an influx of new pilots unfamiliar with the routes and terrain. There have already been a number of fatal accidents involving sightseeing flights in recent years.

2. “Air rage” incidents

Unruly behavior of airplane passengers is increasingly a concern, particularly in the U.S. In a typical year, there are around 150 reports of passenger disruption on aircraft. By June 2021, there had been 3,000 just this year, according to the Federal Aviation Administration – the majority involving passengers refusing to wear a mask. The report notes that unruly passengers may later claim they were discriminated against by the airline in these cases even when in the wrong – a trend insurers need to stay on top of.

3. Perils from parked fleets

Although a large proportion of the world’s airline fleet have been – and are still – parked during COVID-19, loss exposures do not disappear. They change. Parked fleets are exposed to weather events. There have been numerous incidents of grounded aircraft being damaged by hailstorms and hurricanes.

The risk of shunting or ground incidents also increases, which can bring costly claims. There were a number of collisions at the start of the pandemic as operators transferred aircraft to storage facilities. More are likely when aircraft are moved again ahead of reuse.

Aircraft in storage typically undergo regular maintenance to ensure they are ready to return. However, never has the industry seen so many aircraft temporarily put out of service, and the report notes that smaller airlines may face significant challenges when reactivating fleets, given that it will be an unprecedented process.

See also: How COVID Alters Claims Patterns

4. Pilot shortage

Odd as it may seem given the impact of COVID-19, but the global aviation industry faces a pilot shortage in the mid- to long term. The tremendous increase in air travel pre-pandemic – annual air passenger growth in China alone was 10%-plus a year from 2011 – meant pilot demand was already outstripping supply. More than a quarter of a million are required over the coming decade

Some airlines are building their own pilot pipelines by establishing flight schools. Given the nature of training, flying schools are prone to accidents, and claims are becoming more expensive with rising values of aircraft and increased activity. Landing accidents are most common, but insurers have also seen total losses. 

5. New generation aircraft

A number of airlines have shrunk their fleets or retired aircraft over the past year, as the pandemic hastens a generational shift to smaller aircraft, given the anticipated reduced number of passengers on aircraft in the short-term future. 

Newer-generation aircraft bring safety and efficiency benefits, but new materials such as composites, titanium and alloys are more expensive to repair, resulting in higher claims costs.

6. Robust performance by air cargo

Although passenger travel has been devastated by the pandemic, other aviation sectors have performed more robustly, such as cargo operators. In April 2021, Asia Pacific reported its best month for international air cargo since the pandemic began, thanks to rising business confidence, e-commerce and congestion at sea ports, while Latin America to North America freighter capacity grew by almost a third in May 2021 compared with the same two-week period in 2019. The report expects air cargo to continue to perform strongly. 

7. Business travel – boom or bust?

Pre-COVID-19 business travel traffic amounted to $1.5 trillion a year, or around 1.7% of global GDP. With many airlines dialing back expectations in the short term, the report asks whether those days are over. New ways of collaboration, such as video calls, proved to be effective, and more companies are aiming to reduce business travel to improve their carbon footprint. Therefore, while there will be initial surge once lockdowns end, many airlines are preparing for a long-term paradigm shift in traveling, with business travel expected to be slow to pick up.

However, what speaks for a possible uptick is that some areas of business aviation have proven resilient during the pandemic. Companies that had aircraft continued to use them, while many that had never purchased or chartered an aircraft before did so for the first time. Many charter companies thrived.

8. New routes in Europe and Asia Pacific

Over 1,400 new air routes are scheduled for 2021 – more than double those added in 2016 – driven by Europe (over 600) and Asia Pacific (over 500), with regional airports set to be the main beneficiaries. Growth in China’s domestic market alone has seen over 200 routes added – almost the same as the U.S.

9. Insect infestations

There have been a number of reports of unreliable airspeed and altitude readings during the first flight(s) after some aircraft have left storage. In many cases, the problem was traced back to undetected insect nests inside the aircraft’s pitot tubes, pressure-sensitive sensors that feed data to an avionics computer. Such incidents have led to rejected takeoffs and turn-back events. Contamination risk increases if storage procedures are not followed. 

See also: Pressure to Innovate Shifts Priorities

COVID-19 claims impact

The report also notes the aviation industry has seen relatively few claims directly related to the pandemic to date. In a small number of liability notifications, passengers have sued airlines for cancellations/disruptions.

AGCS analysis of more than 46,000 aviation insurance claims from 2016 to year-end 2020 worth more than EUR 14.5 billion (US$17.3 billion) shows collision/crash incidents account for over half the value of all claims. Other expensive causes of loss include faulty workmanship/maintenance and machinery breakdown.

COVID-19 Trio Tops Global Business Risks

A trio of COVID-19-related risks heads up the Allianz Risk Barometer 2021, reflecting potential disruption and loss scenarios that companies are facing in the wake of the pandemic. Business interruption (with 41% of respondents citing it as a risk) and pandemic outbreak (at 40%) are this year’s top business risks, with cyber incidents (40%) ranking a close third. The 10th annual survey on global business risks from Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) incorporates the views of 2,769 experts in 92 countries and territories, including CEOs, risk managers, brokers and insurance experts. 

The COVID-19 crisis continues to represent an immediate threat to both individual safety and businesses, reflecting why pandemic outbreak has rocketed 15 positions up to #2 in the rankings at the expense of other risks. Prior to 2021, it had never finished higher than #16, a clearly underestimated risk. However, in 2021, it’s the #1 risk in 16 countries and among the three biggest risks across all continents and in 35 out of the 38 countries that qualify for a top 10 risks analysis. Japan, South Korea and Ghana are the only exceptions. 

Market developments (#4, at 19%) also climbs, reflecting the risk of rising insolvency rates following the pandemic. According to Euler Hermes, the bulk of insolvencies will come in 2021. The trade credit insurer’s global insolvency index is expected to hit a record for bankruptcies, up 35% by the end of 2021, with top increases expected in the U.S., Brazil, China and core European countries. 

Further, COVID-19 will likely spark a period of innovation and market disruption, accelerating the adoption of technology, hastening the demise of incumbents and traditional sectors and giving rise to new competitors. Other risers include macroeconomic developments (#8, at 13%) and political risks and violence (#10, with 11%), which are, in large part, a consequence of the coronavirus outbreak, too. Fallers in this year’s survey include changes in legislation and regulation (#5, with 19%), natural catastrophes (#6, with 17%), fire/explosion (#7, with 16%) and climate change (#9, with 13%), all clearly superseded by pandemic concerns.

Pandemic drives disruption — now and in the future

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, business interruption (BI) had already finished at the top of the Allianz Risk Barometer seven times, and it returns to the top spot after being replaced by cyber incidents in 2020. The pandemic shows that extreme, global-scale BI events are not just theoretical but a real possibility, causing loss of revenue and disruption to production, operations and supply chains. 59% of respondents highlight the pandemic as the main cause of BI in 2021, followed by cyber incidents (46%) and natural catastrophes and fire and explosion (around 30% each).

In response to heightened BI vulnerabilities, many companies are aiming to build more resilient operations and to de-risk their supply chains. According to Allianz Risk Barometer respondents, improving business continuity management is the main action companies are taking (62%), followed by developing alternative or multiple suppliers (45%), investing in digital supply chains (32%) and improving supplier selection and auditing (31%). According to AGCS experts, many companies found their plans were quickly overwhelmed by the pace of the pandemic. Business continuity planning needs to become more holistic, cross-functional and dynamic; monitor and measure emerging or extreme loss scenarios; and be constantly updated and tested and embedded into an organization’s strategy. 

Cyber perils intensify

Cyber incidents may have slipped to #3 but remain a key peril, with more respondents citing it than in 2020 and still ranking as a top three risk in many countries, including Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, South Africa, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S. The acceleration toward greater digitalization and remote working driven by the pandemic is also intensifying IT vulnerabilities. At the peak of the first wave of lockdowns, in April, the FBI reported a 300% increase in incidents alone, while cybercrime is now estimated to cost the global economy over $1 trillion, up 50% from two years ago. Already high in frequency, ransomware incidents are becoming more damaging, increasingly targeting large companies with sophisticated attacks and hefty extortion demands, as highlighted in the recent AGCS cyber risk trends report

See also: 3-Step Framework to Manage COVID Risk

Risers and fallers 

Macroeconomic developments is up to #8, and political risks and violence (#10) returns to the top 10 for the first time since 2018, reflecting the fact that civil unrest, protests and riots now challenge terrorism as the main exposure for companies. The number, scale and duration of many recent events, including Black Lives Matter protests, anti-lockdown demonstrations and unrest around the U.S. presidential election, have been exceptional. As the socioeconomic fallout from COVID-19 mounts, further political and social unrest is likely, with many countries expected to experience an increase in activity in 2021 and beyond, particularly in Europe and the Americas.

Changes in legislation and regulation drops from #3 to #5 year-on-year. Natural catastrophes falls to #6 from #4, reflecting the fact that, although aggregated losses from multiple smaller events such as wildfires or tornadoes still led to widespread devastation and considerable insured losses in 2020, it was also the third consecutive year without a single large event, such as Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Climate change also falls to #9. However, the need to combat climate change remains as high as ever, given that 2020 was the hottest year ever recorded. 

To learn more about this year’s findings, please visit Allianz Risk Barometer 2021.

NPS Scores Provide 3 Keys to Growth

This year has not been kind to the insurance industry. According to the 2020 Allianz Global Insurance Outlook Report, premium income is expected to shrink by 3.8% globally, mostly due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. So, it’s all hands on deck to find ways to stem the losses, and one of the highest priorities is customer retention. Winning new customers is critical to recovering from the economic shocks caused by the virus, but these new customers will only make a difference if carriers can hold on to the customers they already have. 

Happy customers generally remain customers, and one of the best measures of customer satisfaction is the Net Promoter Score (NPS). It’s a simple measure that’s calculated by subtracting the percentage of customers who would not recommend your product or service to friends from the percentage of those who would. But don’t be fooled by its simplicity. It’s a powerful metric. 

In the Harvard Business Review article that introduced NPS to the world, the authors found that, “remarkably, this one simple statistic seemed to explain the relative growth rates across the entire [airline] industry; that is, no airline has found a way to increase growth without improving its ratio of promoters to detractors.” Further research showed that this finding applied across most industries. The takeaway is this: If carriers increase their NPS scores, they will also accelerate growth.

Of course, improving customer satisfaction is no small feat. But with the right technology and the right partners, insurers will see their NPS scores rise. Here are a few of the technologies and strategies we’ve used at my company, HONK Technologies, to achieve a high NPS scores for our carrier clients.

Automation:

Customers appreciate it when they receive fast service, and nothing speeds service like automation. The insurance industry has made a lot of progress on this front. According to the 2019 J.D. Power U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study, customer satisfaction with the auto insurance claims process hit a record, as the amount of time that passed between filing a claim and the return of a vehicle was 12.9 days, half a day less than it took the year before. 

But there’s still room for improvement, particularly on the claims intake side. For example, instead of sending an adjuster to inspect the vehicle or other property and make a report, the carrier can have the customer send photographs of the damage electronically, perhaps using the carrier’s mobile app. The claim can then be audited by a remote adjuster or even artificial intelligence.

See also: 10 Tips For Using Net Promoter Score

It’s a good idea to undertake a full audit of the claims process and then identify where emerging technologies can automate tasks. It’s not a simple project, but if it’s conducted at regular intervals and management acts on recommendations, the long-term benefits to customer satisfaction and cost efficiency can be substantial.

Analytics, AI and machine learning:

It’s not always obvious what changes could improve customer satisfaction and increase NPS scores, especially because many of the obvious measures, such as speeding up claims processing, are already underway at many carriers. Carriers will need insights into customer behavior that aren’t evident even to an experienced insurance professional. Advanced analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can help provide these insights. 

But these technologies require a lot of data, so insurers should collect as much information about the customer experience as is ethical and legal. No data point is too small to collect. Everything from demographic information and customers’ interactions with your website, to recordings of customer service calls and interactions with third-party service providers could be important. Just as the HBR author, Frederick Reichheld, was surprised to find that the simple NPS score correlated with business growth, you may be surprised to discover that something as mundane as the layout of the claims intake form could make an enormous difference to customer satisfaction.

The more information you gather, the more likely you are to uncover unexpected insights about your customers that can help you increase their satisfaction.

Partner evaluation:

These days, ecosystem services are just as important as claims for creating happy customers. According to a report from Bain, additional services beyond traditional insurance — such as assistance with buying or selling a vehicle, home security advice, healthy living consultations or roadside assistance — can make a big difference in customer loyalty. Bain found that carriers that offered three or more ecosystem services had an average NPS score that was more than 3.5 times higher than those that offered none.

After all, customers are likely to interact far more often with one of these services than they are to file a claim (unless they are very unlucky, indeed). These services are not nice-to-haves; they’re must-haves, and, if they’re poor quality, that will reflect on your brand. So as you work with ecosystem partners, require them to provide data on each customer interaction, and regularly evaluate their performance. Set up key performance indicators (KPIs) and, if they’re not being met, find a new partner. Your NPS score and future growth are at stake, after all.

See also: COVID, and How to Pivot to Innovation

It’s a difficult environment right now for insurance, but as anyone who has been in the business long enough knows, even the worst cycles eventually come to an end. Insurers that lay the groundwork now will be well-positioned to grow once the public health crisis finally passes and the economy recovers.

5 Liability Loss Mega Trends

The range of exposures facing corporation, as well as subsequent loss and claims scenarios, have increased significantly in recent years. There are rising court costs, disruptive recalls, political risks and environmental problems – all in the face of a challenging global pandemic. Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) experts highlight five loss mega trends in a new report that may affect risk managers and their broker partners, reflecting the state of the liability insurance market.

1. Drivers of social inflation, such as litigation funding and class actions challenging businesses and moving into new jurisdictions

“Social inflation” describes rising insurance losses due to the growing emergence of litigation funders, higher jury awards, more liberal workers’ compensation claims, legislated compensation increases and new tort and negligence concepts – a phenomenon that is especially prevalent in the U.S. but that is now growing globally. Consumer-facing industries, such as retail, healthcare, automotive, insurance, pharmaceutical and financial services, are often the most affected by this trend, but many other industries are increasingly susceptible.

In the U.S. in 2019, there were 74 settlements totaling $2 billion and four mega settlements greater than $100 million, representing 45% of all settlement dollars (but only 5% of all cases). Median case amounts increased from around $1 million to $1.5 million per year between 2001 and 2014, to between $2 million and $2.5 million per year from 2015 to 2017 and finally up to almost $4 million per year for 2018 and 2019.

The increasing sophistication of the plaintiffs’ bar, including expanded use of jury consultants and psychologists specializing in group dynamics, has influenced the size of the settlements that juries are willing to award.

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, court closures and the uncertainty of reopening is affecting the legal environment. With attorneys working and conducting depositions remotely, the legal process has become more complex and slower. Plaintiffs realize that, even if their case makes it to court, it could be two years or more before it’s tried before a jury. Others worry that jury trials won’t be feasible as long as social distancing rules apply.

2. Rising automotive repair and recall costs drive high liability claims, as supply chain complexity deepens

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) administered close to 1,000 safety recalls affecting well over 50 million vehicles in 2019. Although this represents a slight decline in the number of recalls year-on-year, it still represents an average of more than two recalls every day in 2019. In addition, around 20 million more vehicles were affected in 2019.

2019 also saw high numbers of recalls across Europe. A spike of 75% meant there were 158 automotive recalls in the first quarter of 2019 – the highest total in the history of Safety Gate, the E.U.’s Rapid Alert System for dangerous non-food products. In total, the volume of motor vehicle recall alerts across the E.U. reached 475 for the year – the highest figure for a single year in the 2010s and a significant 11% increase over 2018 (428).

Of the 966 recalls in the U.S. in 2019, 907 were initiated by the automaker, and 57 were NHTSA- recommended recalls – attesting to a recent continued safety-focus trend on the part of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). This trend of voluntary or first-party recalls is a major driver in the increasing costs of claims from auto recall. Analysis of almost 400 product recall claims over five years shows that the automotive sector is the most affected by recalls, accounting for over 70% of the value of all losses.

See also: COVID-19 Highlights Gaps, Opportunities

Many suppliers in the auto sector are specialized – diversification into other industries is rare. Top suppliers only serve the automotive industry, meaning they serve multiple automobile manufacturers. Other suppliers make parts that wind up in automobiles but do not sell directly to the manufacturer and work with non-automotive manufacturers, as well. Further down the chain are providers of raw materials to all tiers in the supply chain, as well as to OEMs. This supply chain complexity makes automotive manufacturing especially volatile to change or disruption.

In many cases, components can be produced by one of a handful of suppliers that service the entire industry, which can make the industry prone to accumulation risks – as a result, automotive product recalls have become larger and more costly. 

The increasing complexity of technology is another significant driver of industry losses, due to factors such as increased time and labor rates to make repairs, more specialized training for mechanics and other repairers and the increasing prices of parts. Routine advances that were cutting-edge only a few years ago are now commonplace – like backup cameras, curb sensors, GPS navigation and anti-lock brakes. All of these increase driver convenience and safety – but also costs and claims. For example, vehicle repairs cost around 60% more in 2017 than they did in 2000.

3. The pandemic challenges manufacturers to avoid costly food safety risk and recalls

The number of food recalls has risen over recent years, with the exception of a decline in incidents through the coronavirus outbreak. Such recalls can be costly. The resulting disruption in operations while managing the recall, the direct cost of recalling stock and the indirect costs caused by the knock-on effects, such as reputational damage, can result in significant long-term financial losses for a company from loss of sales.

The average cost of a recall to a food company is around $10 million in direct costs, including brand damage, lost sales, response team set-up, press activities and other fixed costs, according to a joint U.S.-based study by Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA). Analysis of product recall insurance claims in the food and beverage sector by AGCS shows a similar experience, with the cost of the average large claim around $9.5 million (€8 million).

Product recalls are increasing in both the U.S. and the U.K. – 58% of companies have been hit by food recalls, according to one report – but also elsewhere in the world due to factors like just-in-time global manufacturing, in which recalls can rapidly go global; fewer suppliers and complex supply chains, which increases food safety risks if one supplier has a contamination issue; improved technology, which allows for better traceability and pathogen detection; and stricter regulatory enforcement globally. 

The ability of the regulatory agencies and public health officials to detect problems has been reduced during the pandemic. Post-pandemic, there is likely to be a return to the normal detection of issues – especially those related to food-borne illness.

With very dramatic increases in hygiene standards – not only within manufacturing but in every aspect of society – cross-contamination risks, which are a major cause of food and beverage recalls, may decrease. New operations, closed factories, remote work forces, weakened quality checks, decreases in regulatory visits and erratic supply chains can increase risk exposures.

4. Political risks threaten business disruption beyond physical property damage

Civil unrest such as protests and riots are challenging terrorism as the main political risk exposure for companies. Recently, events such as the French ”yellow vest” protests (insured losses around $90 million), as well as unrest in Chile (around $2 billion), Hong Kong ($77 million), Bolivia ($170 million) and Ecuador ($821 million) have highlighted the volatility of businesses to the impact of political risks and violence, causing both physical damage but also preventing many businesses from opening their doors. 

Almost 50 countries witnessed a surge in civil unrest in 2019, according to a Verisk study. Notably, in 2020, racially charged riots in the wake of the death of George Floyd have challenged authorities to control crowds and protect property. Losses to businesses in at least 40 cities in 20 U.S. states may come close to the most costly civil disorder in U.S. history (Los Angeles’ 1994 Rodney King riots, which caused $1.42 billion in damages, in 2020 dollars).

An individual business doesn’t have to be a direct victim of civil unrest or terrorism to suffer a loss. Businesses near such incidents can suffer lost revenues whether or not they incur physical damage, during the time the area is cordoned off or until the infrastructure can be repaired to allow entry of customers, vendors and suppliers. Companies can also be disrupted by a physical loss of attraction to a property in the vicinity of their premises. If there is a closure of an important landmark, hub or particular place where large numbers of people come together, a reduced number of visitors will result.

5. Indoor air quality after coronavirus and enforcement undertakings concerns environmental market

Environmental pollution incidents can have damaging consequences for a business, and not all aspects are always fully considered when a company is assessing whether it is adequately covered. Among these, two risks are paramount for 2020 and beyond: indoor air quality concerns with legionellosis and mold growth and the use of enforcement undertakings (EU) to encourage companies to participate in the clean-up and prevention of environmental accidents that they caused.

Indoor air quality is a continuing environmental concern, driven by increased mold and legionella claims. This is exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused an unprecedented shutdown of commercial office buildings. When certain air quality systems are dormant for a while, they are susceptible to contamination by bacteria that thrive in humid, water-rich environments.

Mold and legionella can especially affect real estate and the hospitality sector, but also hospitals, bath houses, fitness clubs and other public settings – large buildings with complex plumbing and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that allow bacteria to grow and aerosolize into small droplets that are aspirated by facility occupants.

See also: How Risk Managers Must Adapt to COVID

The coronavirus pandemic, however, has caused many commercial office buildings to sit idle, potentially leaving poorly maintained buildings with stagnant water in HVAC and plumbing systems where legionella thrive. Legionella is more likely to occur in systems that have been dormant for a prolonged time – weeks or months, at least.

Mold growth in buildings may also be an unexpected side effect of the pandemic. An HVAC system transfers heat and moisture into and out of the air to control the temperature level. In a building, this balance can easily be offset by an inconsistent or inoperable HVAC system. Mold requires three things to grow: water/moisture, proper temperature and a food source, which is typically building materials such as drywall or ceiling tiles.

Globally, environmental prosecutions are on the increase as public awareness of environmental matters grows, and therefore the standard by which businesses are judged becomes higher. Fines and remediation standards are on the increase, and therefore environmental management should be a boardroom priority. 

For more information, please visit AGCS Liability Loss Trends 2020.

Insurtechs Are Specializing

Money has been pouring into insurtechs, reaching a record of almost $2 billion in Q4 2019. Since 2018, investors have put more than $1 billion per quarter into companies seeking to shake up the industry. Not a single market segment has been untouched.

In 2020, the focus will be on innovating with insurtechs that enable incumbents. One report found that 96% of insurers said that they wanted to collaborate with insurtech firms in some way. Those surveyed favored partnerships and the software as a service (SaaS) approach to developing new solutions. There’s a rapidly growing list of insurer and insurtech partnerships.

See also: An Insurtech Reality Check  

Insurtechs are developing to solve niche problems, and most aren’t aiming to tackle every vertical or every phase of the process. We all know the saying, jack of all trades, master of none. Insurtechs are focused on being the master at very specific parts of the value chain. Allianz has partnered with Flock, an insurtech startup offering pay-per-flight drone insurance; Aviva partnered with Digital Risks in the U.K. to develop insurance for startups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); and State Farm partnered with Cambridge Mobile Telematics to deliver usage-based insurance to drivers in the U.S.

One big driver of these partnerships is the inability of one company to do everything at once. Synergies can be realized when combining complementary skills. In Germany, Generali formed a partnership with Nest to offer homeowners insurance that leverages Nest’s smart home technology. Nest’s technology detects smoke and carbon monoxide and sends alerts to customer’s phones, reducing the risk for the insurer. Nationwide’s partnership with sure.com allows it to sell renters insurance through an app; Nationwide is still handing the underwriting and policy management separately. 

More and more, incumbents are working with several insurtechs that integrate to bring change to every aspect of the industry. 

Insurtechs bring the speed, agility and technological skills that incumbents need.

As Deloitte’s 2020 Insurance Outlook pointed out, “Despite some attempts to upgrade legacy marketing and distribution systems… carriers continue to struggle to drive more effective connections with consumers accustomed to online shopping and self-service.” Trying to bring legacy systems into the current age of digitization simply isn’t working, and, if incumbents try to build in-house, they face a longer time to market and higher costs.

Partnering with an insurtech company allows incumbents to quickly bridge the innovation gap, where technology changes faster than their ability to keep up. The estimated timeframe to develop solutions in-house is around 18 months, whereas you can be up and running in as little as three months if you partner with an insurtech. Moreover, incumbents that partner can respond more quickly to changing customer demands and lessen their risk of losing market share to a competitor. 

See also: How Tech Makes Sector Safer, Smarter  

For their part, insurtechs have realized that seeking to disrupt and replace incumbents can be too costly. To run a successful insurance company, you need significant capital, which is difficult for startups to raise. The insurance industry is also regulation-heavy, making it difficult for newcomers to find a place. Startups struggle to access the complex networks that support insurers. The industry presents too many barriers to independent disruption, but partnership benefits everyone involved.

Insurers are ready to innovate and have the data and distribution networks to support large-scale rollouts. Insurtechs have the technology and the agility to come into a large organization in the midst of change, work with its legacy systems, partner with insurtechs solving other problems in the supply chain and provide immediate value in moving them into the digital world. Both sides of the equation are ready and willing to realize the benefits of working together.